10 Mar 17. The U.S. Department of Defense has delivered its fiscal 2017 budget supplemental plan to the White House for review, the agency announced Friday. The Pentagon was supposed to deliver the budget amendment material to the Office of Management and Budget by March 1, but that delivery was delayed. Pentagon spokesman Lt. Col. Eric Badger emphasized that the budget process is “iterative” and said the Pentagon will continue to work with OMB to finalize the details. He also underscored calls from top department officials for a return to regular budgetary order.
“Of note, the amendment doesn’t change the fact that we strongly favor passage of the FY 2017 DoD appropriations bill, and avoiding a year-long continuing resolution,” Badger said in a statement.
DoD is operating under a continuing resolution which caps spending at FY16 levels. This year represented the first time that there was a change of administration while under a continuing resolution. The current stopgap continuing resolution to fund the government runs out on April 28, and to avert a government shutdown Congress would have to pass appropriations or another extension.
On Wednesday, the House voted to pass a $578bn defense spending bill for FY17, but it is unclear how the Senate will act on that version of the budget plan.
While full details of the supplemental defense spending bill are hazy, a few concrete data points have leaked out. Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. David Goldfein told reporters last month that his service will include some money for a light attack aircraft demonstration, amidst other plus-ups. (Source: Defense News)
08 Mar 17. Trump Administration Looks to Resume Saudi Arms Sale Criticized as Endangering Civilians in Yemen. The State Department has approved a resumption of weapons sales that critics have linked to Saudi Arabia’s bombing of civilians in Yemen, a potential sign of reinvigorated U.S. support for the kingdom’s involvement in its neighbor’s ongoing civil war. The proposal from the State Department would reverse a decision made late in the Obama administration to suspend the sale of precision guided munitions to Riyadh, which leads a mostly Arab coalition conducting airstrikes against Houthi rebels in Yemen. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson’s approval this week of the measure, which officials say needs White House backing to go into effect, provides an early indication of the new administration’s more Saudi-friendly approach to the conflict in Yemen and a sign of its more hawkish stance on Iran. (Source: glstrade.com/Washington Post)
08 Mar 17. US Accuses Russia of Deploying Missile in Violation of Arms Treaty. The United States has publicly accused Russia for the first time of deploying a cruise missile in violation of a 30-year-old arms control agreement. Joint Chiefs of Staff Vice Chairman General Paul Selva confirmed on Capitol Hill the deployment of the land-based missile violates the “spirit and intent” of the 1987 Intermediate-range Nuclear Forces Treaty. Selva’s remarks Wednesday before the House Armed Services Committee were the U.S. military’s first public confirmation of reports last month that Russia had secretly positioned them.
Selva testified the deployment poses “risk to most of our facilities in Europe.” He added the move is an attempt by Russia to threaten the North Atlantic Treaty Organization.
Former President Barack Obama’s administration said the SSC-8 cruise missile had been tested in 2014, violating the treaty that bans U.S. and Russian intermediate-range missiles on land. The violation was first raised with Russian officials in 2013 by deputy secretary- general of NATO Rose Gottemoeller, who was then the State Department’s highest-ranking arms control official during the Obama administration. After several years of frustration, the United States convened a meeting of a special panel created under the treaty to deal with arms compliance matters last November in Geneva. It was the